Oaks & Arrows

Our Family Story


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where we are.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the PURPOSE of the Lord that will stand”  Prov. 19:21

All my life I’ve been a planner – wishin’, and dreamin’, and making expectations for myself and how I think my life should go.  I thought that of course, by year #5 in our marriage, we’d be popping out a baby and starting the American dream of a happy little family.  Because of this planning gene in me, living in the wait of this adoption world is so tough.  We really thought by now, month 18 in our process, that we’d be announcing a match with a beautiful little India princess.  We thought we’d be starting to decorate a nursery and soon be traveling to get her.  But, we’re not.

Not yet.

No answers in sight on when this baby is’a movin.  18 months in, and it feels like it’s been a decade – that this time is going so slow.  Things/rules/processes seem to keep changing in India, and wait times getting even longer than when we started.  Recent agency updates have left us rather discouraged, frustrated, angry.   The more frustrated I get, the more broken I get for the millions, not just hundreds, of children in the U.S. and all over the world who are waiting for a mommy and daddy to come take them home.  Can you imagine never knowing if you would be picked to be someone’s baby?  Ugh, may this reality continue to break the church’s heart – so that we cannot turn a blind eye to caring for orphans…regardless of how messy, frustrating, or upsetting the adoption process is.  Y’all, I have to remind myself of this daily or I forget why I’m riding on this emotional rollercoaster.

While processing through many emotions I never thought I’d see, I’ve lately been so comforted by the daily grace God has given to us in facing this mountain.  There have been so many gifts in the mess of this waiting:

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celebrating our 5 year anniversary in Charleston! (praise Jesus! so thankful for what He has given us in each other!) Jake is seriously the best gift I could ever ask for. He is such an example of Jesus’ love and grace and humility to me. It was such a sweet time reminiscing that day that we made our promises to each other.

building sweet community in our neighborhood through neighbor dinner nights

being able to support new friends who are beginning their adoption process! – check out the sweet Mullis family’s journey.  So encouraged that adoption is no “plan B” for their family.

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spending time with our families – celebrated this little stinker’s 2 year old birthday this past weekend.  What a joy he is!

All in all, even in the midst of the really tough days when I’m seeing all of my friends holding their sweet babies and longing for my girl to be here, I still believe that God is good and He is still working behind the scenes to bring her home.  I know without a doubt (even though I can’t see it often), that God has a purpose in this time.  He is working a far greater story than we can see – we are just trying real hard to cling to that right now.

I know I’ve asked so many of you to pray, and pray again.  Will you keep asking God for our girl for us? Will you join us in asking God every morning, until we get an answer, and that it would be soon?

“…ALL His work is done in faithfulness”  Psa. 33:4


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Mother’s Day Recap

I think all adopting moms could probably relate to the feelings I had towards this Mother’s Day: a little dread of how difficult the day could be separated from who your heart believes is “your child,” a little excitement in your spirit with the fact that indeed one day you’d be a mom, and just an overwhelming longing to be near your child(ren) that are in a faraway land.  I walked into this Mother’s Day with a weary heart as the week before, Jake and I had heard some not so encouraging news from our adoption agency.  The words: “it will take an act of God” – meaning, that it wasn’t looking good nor potentially going to go down the way we had hoped for, the way we had all planned.  The news sent us a little bit, okay a lot, into a fearful mess.  After all, it is so hard to fall in love with the idea of a specific little one running around your home, having dreams of her in your arms, and feeling confirmation that she is the one, and then…hearing those difficult words. It has rocked us and put us on our faces before the Lord constantly.  There is still no resolution and more than anything now we are completely out of control. There is nothing at all to do except wait. pray. wait some more. pray even more.  This place has forced us to surrender all of our ideas of how it should go, all of our (whatever we thought we had?) control, all of our hopes, etc. to the Lord.  It’s also made us question His goodness – and the questioning has been good because it’s has reminded us…

That He gives His children good things. (Matthew 7:9)

How He works out the best for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

How He is able to do more abundantly than all we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

And finally, how good + true + comforting it is to take Him at His word. To really believe it – to even put aside the circumstantial words that we are hearing from even our agency, and still trust His calling, and His word to us.

That’s where we are.  The hardest part could be yet to come.  But in this mama’s heart, I know without a doubt in my mind that this season, even this scary part, is what I’ve been called to as a mama.  Because a mom is somebody who is willing to “keep on loving when it made no sense because that’s what love does,” Ann Voskamp says. Moms are the ones that are the grace extenders – they see the potential in their child or in a situation and keep on giving, again and again.  Moms fight for what’s theirs…they do whatever it takes, just like Jesus did.  Because He gave all for us, we are able to walk in His power to love and keep on loving and to hope against all odds.

On Mother’s Day – the Lord led me past my discouragement a bit and reminded me to pray for my daughter’s own birth mom – the mom who she was born to, who carried her for 9 months, and who was so brave to save her daughter’s life by giving her away.  That type of motherhood – I may not ever fully grasp the depth or tragedy of completely – but I am thankful, so thankful for that little life that will one day be home.


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No lie.

There are just some things happening in this world that my mind can’t wrap around, and when I’m forced to think about I get an uneasy feeling in the bottom of my stomach.  This is one of them.  Be aware folks – may we as Americans, and us as the church, be incredibly bothered by such an evil.  May us being uncomfortable thinking about it lead us to do what we can to pray for, prevent, etc…

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This is one of the truths we learned about India that grabbed ahold of our hearts, wrecked us, and that bothered us so bad and eventually led us to walk this adoption journey.  Thankful that our girl wasn’t killed because of her gender, but brokenhearted for the 1.5 million that have been.

So what can you do?

Be educated. Don’t turn your head. What if this was your daughter? sister?

Buy a shirt.  Sevenly is selling these shirts this week to raise funds for Invisible Girl.


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Little bit o’ sunshine: bathroom redo

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New framed out mirror.

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Inspiration rug!

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rugged elephant towel rack.

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My favorite part: sweet words we found, design created by daddy Taylor. Props to him on learning Photoshop in 1 day. He loves his girl so much already.

Last week in our boredom of waiting for springtime and for little miss, I talked J into re-doing our guest bath, which will be little gal’s bathroom.  Those of you who know me well know that I am pretty much addicted to decorating – so I was thrilled when J agreed to paint the room light gray for me!  We based the design/colors on the fun sunshine yellow chevron rug, found at KOHL’S. Crazy.  J even designed a special print that captures the heart of where we are in this adoption right now – growing in love for that little girl.  Next up – the toddler room!  We are holding off decorating her room until later hopefully soon, when we get our official referral/match.  Come on India, we wanna see that sweet little face!


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updates + prayers please!

Alright folks.  This week is a big one on the adoption from in India.  There is a huge meeting between child welfare (government leaders), adoption agencies, and orphanage leaders regarding the “state of adoption” there.  This meeting will review adoption policies and talk about the future of adoption there.  Would you pray with us that this meeting creates some type of movement in our case, and the cases of so many families who are waiting on their children to come home?

  • pray that hearts of the officials are encouraged to create/protect policies that are in the best interest of orphans there
  • pray that the officials would show favor to the families who are attempting adoption of these kids
  • pray  that the officials would desire and make efforts to expedite the adoptions
  • pray  that the Lord would protect the “openness” of adoption in India for US families
On updates – Jake and I have been incredibly encouraged lately.  We’ve had the opportunity lately to meet many other adopting families – some who have been through the process already and some still waiting.  It’s so encouraging to know that the Lord will redeem this time of waiting, regardless of how long it may be.
We still have no timeline or referral (match) with our girl.Last week I spoke with our adoption agency and got a somewhat “update.”  Only it turned out to not be much of an update at all, because really, there was no “new news.”  I was really bummed, discouraged, etc. to hear this – the no news seemed to add to my dread/sadness lately of having to wait. And wait. And wait.  I had a mini breakdown – where I really had to just hand it over to the Lord.  I was reminded gently by Him (and my sweet husband) that our God has the timing of it all.  That the Lord loves our girl so much more than we will ever love her – and that He has her (and our) best interest in mind.  Sometimes its just so hard to submit to His goodness and let go my “control” of His worry. I felt like over and over again last week, He kept gently reminding me of His faithfulness thus far.  Reminding me of the faithfulness and the promise of “good and not evil” towards us, and her.  Good, encouraging stuff.

 


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January was long.

Anyone else feel like that? Shew. I always feel like December is a roller-coaster and January is a little, well, boring.  The summer girl in me is feelin’ this white skin, dry skin going on.  Can’t wait to be by the pool – and then I wonder, will I be by the pool, or will I be in India, lovin’ on my girl?  Day dreamin’ – there’s lots of that going on right now.  What’s been keeping me sane lately:

1) Soul Detox. I’m loving this YouVersion plan right now.  Loving journeying through with the rest of the She Reads Truth girls.  I even have my hub joining in now.  Taking captive those thoughts that don’t belong is what Soul Detox is all about.  It’s not too late to join!

2) Reading.  Since we had to read so much for the Service Plan, I’m on a roll.  Working on some Francine Rivers (Her Mother’s Hope – even though I know it won’t be as good as Redeeming Love) and about to start Power of a Praying Wife with the journey group girls.

3) Valentine’s day is coming up! Planning some surprises…are you?

4) Downtown Raleigh! I had a dream the other night that we moved suddenly and I was really upset. I love our city!  Wanting to try Calavera soon…anyone been there yet?

How are you beating the winter blues?


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prepping.

Many of you have been asking, “when is she coming?”  We still don’t know.  We don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know.  Sure wish we did! What we do know is that we are still crazy about her and praying, begging God to open up the doors for this adoption.

We finally finished our “service plan” – per our adoption agency’s requirements.  Our minds are FULL of helpful information and “what if’s” and stories of what could happen when we bring her home.  It was challenging to read and not be able to apply, but I know that day is coming.  Our service plan included a 7-book reading list with book reports for each, homework like creating our will, finding pediatricians, researching the India culture & local Indian community events, etc.  A few things we found to be very interesting and repeated throughout every book we read:

Culture: it will be so important for us to intertwine the Indian culture in her everyday life.  She will be a healthier adult and have a stronger self-concept if we make sure India stays a part of her life!   By the book suggestions:

–       eat more Indian food! And learn to cook it (something more than Trader Joes  frozen Indian meals)

–       participate in Indian events in the area

–       Have artifacts from India around our house

–       Celebrating India holidays

Attachment: Internationally adopted children naturally have a slower time attaching to their adopted parents – mostly because they are accustomed to having multiple caregivers/volunteers coming through to visit their orphanage.   Another reason they have a difficult time attaching to their parents is because they never had the chance to form an attachment with a caregiver. Many struggle with what they call “indiscriminate friendliness” which means they basically don’t know at first who is mom or dad.  Our girl may come home and think you, and you, and you are her “mommy.”  We read some fabulous books on attachment parenting that give lots of tips on how to overcome this and teach her that WE are her parents.  What a joy it will be to pursue this relationship with her and to teach her to trust us – what a picture of the gospel and God’s pursuit of us!  Some of the attachment practices they teach:

–       parents being the only ones to feed her at first (teaches trust for basic needs)

–       not leaving her isolated or crying by herself, hurrying to her cries

–       babywearing – I love this term and can’t wait for it! Ergobaby here we come!

–       no overnight stays away from her during the first period of time she’s home

–       limited childcare/babysitters at first

Honoring her birth family:  This subject was hard for me at first to read about.  After all, I want her to know that WE are her family.  The more we read, we realized that she will always have an ache in her heart, and a longing to know about her birth family.  One day, she’ll have a desire to know them.  Although this may not be possible, it will be important for us to honor that relationship.  Her mother gave her an incredible gift in getting her into an orphanage under someone’s care – her mother gave her the gift of LIFE.  I get a little teary when I think about this.   We want her to have positive thoughts about her birthfamily, and to even have conversations about this and pray thanking God that her birth parents chose to give her life.   We don’t want to hide the fact that she was adopted or that she has a birthfamily alive somewhere in India.  We pray she’ll always know and feel comfortable in talking to us about this.

Deep stuff – and I’m sure will be challenging at times.  I’m thankful for the preparation in this waiting – that we will be walking into this relationship with our daughter hopefully somewhat equipped.  But we know the equipping won’t be through the books, dvds, or research we’ve done.  There are so many things we will have to face with lots of patience and asking the Lord what’s next.  We won’t be perfect parents, but we’re praying she’ll grow up knowing without a doubt that “she’s ours,” a Taylor girl, who was loved way long before she even knew us.

We loved because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19